E! executive tries & fails to explain why Catt Sadler was paid less than Jason Kennedy

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As we discussed several weeks ago, Catt Sadler left E! in a flurry of controversy. Sadler was a longtime E! News co-anchor and correspondent, and she was (by all accounts) well-liked and hard-working. She worked her way up the ladder to become co-anchor of E! News, alongside Jason Kennedy, and they had a good relationship. So good, in fact, that I suspect that Jason Kennedy revealed his salary to her and helped her behind-the-scenes when she went in to negotiate a new contract. Alas, E! didn’t want to pay Catt the same as Jason, even though they were literally doing the same job. You could even argue that Catt was doing more work, because she had more screen time and more side projects going on. So Catt left, and she explained publicly why she was leaving.

I was pleasantly surprised when so many celebrity women took up Catt’s cause on the Golden Globes red carpet. Debra Messing, Eva Longoria and Sarah Jessica Parker all name-checked Catt and the pay equity situation WHILE BEING INTERVIEWED ON E!. It was great. So after that, some E! executive felt the need to comment.

The heated words of Debra Messing, Eva Longoria, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Laura Dern on E!’s Golden Globes red carpet must have stung. The actresses spoke up about the departure of E! News correspondent, Catt Sadler, who announced last month she was leaving the network after a decade of work because of a “massive” pay gap between herself and her male co-host Jason Kennedy.

Questions about the salary disparity continued on Tuesday after a panel at the Television Critics Association semi-annual press tour in Los Angeles. Frances Berwick, president of Lifestyle Networks, issued a statement on the controversy. “There is a lot of misinformation out there,” Berwick said. “Catt Sadler and Jason Kennedy had different roles and therefore different salaries. Cat was focused on daytime. Jason Kennedy is on prime evening news plus red carpet. Our employees’ salaries are based on their roles and their expertise, regardless of gender. So we wish Cat well but I hope that sort of sets the record straight on that.” Berwick oversees Bravo Media, E! Entertainment, Esquire Network, Oxygen Media and Sprout.

[From Vulture]

“Catt Sadler and Jason Kennedy had different roles” - yes, his role was “co-anchor with penis” and that role entitled him to more money, just because. It’s total bullsh-t to say that Catt was just a daytime person and Jason was a nighttime person when they were LITERALLY CO-ANCHORS. When Catt literally worked her way up to that position after years of working for the network.

Also: the tone-deafness of this executive’s comment is part and parcel of E!’s largely tone-deaf reaction to #WhyWeWearBlack and #TimesUp. Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic had no idea what to do when actresses started talking about this stuff on the Globes red carpet. Ryan’s reaction was to A) only talk to men and B) act as if all of the women were depressives and hysterics who were too fragile to discuss the reality of female empowerment, #MeToo and #WhyWeWearBlack.

Catt has just now issued a statement about this executive’s half-assed explanation. Catt said:

“My experience, frustration and disparity was based on Jason Kennedy and myself being apples to apples,” Sadler said. “We came to the network at the same time and did similar jobs. For people to use the argument that Giuliana somehow made more money than Jason, that comparison doesn’t work. They’re apples and oranges. She joined before him, she was managing editor, she had multiple shows on the network. It’s unfortunate that people who don’t work there are trying to be the voice for the network. The only story I can tell is my truth and the truth speaks for itself.”

[From Vulture]

Word. Good for Catt for standing up for herself. E! made a really terrible decision here.

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16 Responses to “E! executive tries & fails to explain why Catt Sadler was paid less than Jason Kennedy”

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  1. Bridget says:

    Lol at them trying to paint Jason and Cat as having 2 different jobs. And even worse trying to push him as their red carpet guy.

    E! handled the Red Carpet blackout terribly, and I really loved what the Fug Girls Have to say on the subject. Fashion isn’t ‘less’ than. It represents someone’s artistic endeavor and many, many hours of work and many people’s livelihood. When even an entertainment outlet like E! treats it as though red carpet coverage and discussion of fashion isn’t worthwhile, that’s a problem. The issue hasn’t been that women can’t talk about what they’re wearing and also have thoughtful responses about their work and other topics – it’s that no one was asking anything more. Seacrest and Rancic both massively dropped the ball, it was ridiculous. But it’s also telling that E! didn’t better prep them, or send someone better.

  2. Nicegirl says:

    I will watch Catt on another network.

  3. mia girl says:

    The E! executive is an idiot for saying what everyone knows is such a BS statement.

    Wouldn’t it be great if in response, actors start to bypass/boycott E!’s Red carpet/coverage at all these upcoming award shows?

    • velourazure says:

      I automatically assumed “Frances Berwick” was a man for some reason.

      No, WOMEN execs are apparently just as awful. Great job, Frances. Hope you receive the same treatment when your contract is re-negotiated.

  4. Nello says:

    Wow, the gall! Anyone who has watched E! News can see that Sadler and Kennedy were doing the same job! I didn’t see Jason on the carpet at this year’s Globes. Chicken shit.

  5. lucy2 says:

    Good for her. I hope she’s able to find a bigger and better job elsewhere.
    E! should be ashamed, especially considering most of their viewership is likely women. I hope this starts to hit them in the numbers – viewership and revenue.

  6. M.A.F. says:

    She started working on the network before him and she was a anchor on E! News while he was field reporter before he moved up. At one point wasn’t she co-hosting with Rancic while he was still out in the field? Their explanation is stupid.

    • lucy2 says:

      If that’s the case, I wonder if she has any recourse for an equal pay lawsuit? If they were doing the same job, same hours, same responsibility, and she has MORE experience, she could possibly have a case, or at least push them for some kind of settlement?

  7. Green Is Good says:

    Boycott E!

  8. angie0717 says:

    Shut up E! E blew it w Catt’s salary negotiation. Period. Now they will just have to eat it. Hey E!, it’s called consequences for bad behaviour

  9. cafecito says:

    I’m getting a flashback of when my white male boss told a (of course white male) board member that I had problems because I “give up easily, wasn’t trying hard enough”. Me, the WOC from a poor country in America working in Europe. Me, the only woman at this level in the company (that’s not the wife of the CEO).

    Yes, scholarships based on merit fall from the sky. Degrees. Foreign languages. Skills. Everybody knows it.

    I need a drink…

    • lucy2 says:

      Ugh what a jerk! I suppose he also jumps in at the end of marathons and criticizes the other runners for being sweaty and tired, huh?

  10. gobo says:

    If your employee leaves because your bullshit reasoning doesn’t fly, don’t be surprised if no one else is buying your shit either E!

  11. LetItGo says:

    I really hope Catt is in negotiations somewhere else and gets an amazing job. She doesn’t deserve to be treated badly and unfairly then have her situation twisted and lied about by some suit.

  12. Megan says:

    I have ZERO sympathy or interest in someone who, in her official statement, chose to promote/flaunt her relationship with the entire Kardashian family. E! is a crappy channel with crappy programming and the fact that it is responsible for promoting that cesspool family renders it entirely unworthy of further discussion.

  13. Margo S. says:

    E is terrible. They sound like a bunch of pompous butt hurt boys. Go eff yourself E.